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Concept: Lou Gehrig


To assess the safety, tolerability, and preliminary efficacy of NP001, a novel immune regulator of inflammatory monocytes/macrophages, for slowing progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Concepts: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal and progressive neurodegenerative disease. Despite much research having been conducted about psychological issues involved in living with ALS, anger, and resentment have yet to be investigated. Moreover, the construct of “hope” has received little attention, so far. An online survey was created to investigate hate, resentment, and hope issues in people with ALS, in relation to the willingness to adopt a strict nutrient-dense diet if it were shown to increase longevity. Results indicate that there is a high level of hope in the sample. People who have lived with ALS for more time expressed a higher level of hope to live 10 years or more. Those who are married were more likely to have hope of living 10 years or longer and more likely to have lower levels of hate against ALS. Dietary self-care choices appear to be related to hope issues. Resentment and hate tended to be higher in people who have had ALS for less time, and in women. Despite some methodological limitations, the results suggest that hope, hate, and resentment could be important issues to explore in future studies.

Concepts: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Neurodegenerative disorders, Lou Gehrig, Calorie restriction


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease with a poor prognosis. Survival and quality of life of ALS patients have improved through the implementation of multidisciplinary approaches, the use of percutaneous gastrostomy and of noninvasive (NIV) or invasive ventilation. The question of whether or not to propose invasive ventilation (by tracheostomy: TPPV) to ALS patients remains a matter of debate.

Concepts: Medical terms, Superoxide dismutase, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Neurodegenerative disorders, Lou Gehrig, Stephen Hawking


Recent advances in understanding amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have delivered new questions. Disappointingly, the initial enthusiasm for transgenic mouse models of the disease has not been followed by rapid advances in therapy or prevention. Monogenic models may have inadvertently masked the true complexity of the human disease. ALS has evolved into a multisystem disorder, involving a final common pathway accessible via multiple upstream aetiological tributaries. Nonetheless, there is a common clinical core to ALS, as clear today as it was to Charcot and others. We stress the continuing relevance of clinical observations amid the increasing molecular complexity of ALS.

Concepts: Medicine, Molecular biology, Death, Superoxide dismutase, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig, Jean-Martin Charcot, Stephen Hawking


Selective motor neuron degeneration is a hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Around 10% of all cases present as familial ALS (FALS), while sporadic ALS (SALS) accounts for the remaining 90%. Diverse genetic mutations leading to FALS have been identified, but the underlying causes of SALS remain largely unknown. Despite the heterogeneous and incompletely understood etiology, different types of ALS exhibit overlapping pathology and common phenotypes, including protein aggregation and mitochondrial deficiencies. Here, we review the current understanding of mechanisms leading to motor neuron degeneration in ALS as they pertain to disrupted cellular clearance pathways, ATP biogenesis, calcium buffering and mitochondrial dynamics. Through focusing on impaired autophagic and mitochondrial functions, we highlight how the convergence of diverse cellular processes and pathways contributes to common pathology in motor neuron degeneration.

Concepts: Antioxidant, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig, ALS Association


To identify genetic factors contributing to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), we conducted whole-exome analyses of 1,022 index familial ALS (FALS) cases and 7,315 controls. In a new screening strategy, we performed gene-burden analyses trained with established ALS genes and identified a significant association between loss-of-function (LOF) NEK1 variants and FALS risk. Independently, autozygosity mapping for an isolated community in the Netherlands identified a NEK1 p.Arg261His variant as a candidate risk factor. Replication analyses of sporadic ALS (SALS) cases and independent control cohorts confirmed significant disease association for both p.Arg261His (10,589 samples analyzed) and NEK1 LOF variants (3,362 samples analyzed). In total, we observed NEK1 risk variants in nearly 3% of ALS cases. NEK1 has been linked to several cellular functions, including cilia formation, DNA-damage response, microtubule stability, neuronal morphology and axonal polarity. Our results provide new and important insights into ALS etiopathogenesis and genetic etiology.

Concepts: Genetics, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig


Persistent environmental pollutants may represent a modifiable risk factor involved in the gene-time-environment hypothesis in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Concepts: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) exhibits characteristic variability of onset and rate of disease progression, with inherent clinical heterogeneity making disease quantitation difficult. Recent advances in understanding pathogenic mechanisms linked to the development of ALS impose an increasing need to develop strategies to predict and more objectively measure disease progression. This Review explores phenotypic and genetic determinants of disease progression in ALS, and examines established and evolving biomarkers that may contribute to robust measurement in longitudinal clinical studies. With targeted neuroprotective strategies on the horizon, developing efficiencies in clinical trial design may facilitate timely entry of novel treatments into the clinic. ANN NEUROL 2014. © 2014 American Neurological Association.

Concepts: Cohort study, Medicine, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Superoxide dismutase, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig, Stephen Hawking


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a late-onset neurodegenerative disorder resulting from motor neuron death. Approximately 10% of cases are familial (FALS), typically with a dominant inheritance mode. Despite numerous advances in recent years, nearly 50% of FALS cases have unknown genetic aetiology. Here we show that mutations within the profilin 1 (PFN1) gene can cause FALS. PFN1 is crucial for the conversion of monomeric (G)-actin to filamentous (F)-actin. Exome sequencing of two large ALS families showed different mutations within the PFN1 gene. Further sequence analysis identified 4 mutations in 7 out of 274 FALS cases. Cells expressing PFN1 mutants contain ubiquitinated, insoluble aggregates that in many cases contain the ALS-associated protein TDP-43. PFN1 mutants also display decreased bound actin levels and can inhibit axon outgrowth. Furthermore, primary motor neurons expressing mutant PFN1 display smaller growth cones with a reduced F/G-actin ratio. These observations further document that cytoskeletal pathway alterations contribute to ALS pathogenesis.

Concepts: Protein, Spinal cord, Superoxide dismutase, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Neurodegenerative disorders, Axon, Lou Gehrig, Stephen Hawking


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disorder of motor neurons causing progressive muscle weakness, paralysis, and eventual death from respiratory failure. There is currently no cure or effective treatment for ALS. Besides motor neuron degeneration, ALS is associated with impaired energy metabolism, which is pathophysiologically linked to mitochondrial dysfunction and glutamate excitotoxicity. The Deanna Protocol (DP) is a metabolic therapy that has been reported to alleviate symptoms in patients with ALS. In this study we hypothesized that alternative fuels in the form of TCA cycle intermediates, specifically arginine-alpha-ketoglutarate (AAKG), the main ingredient of the DP, and the ketogenic diet (KD), would increase motor function and survival in a mouse model of ALS (SOD1-G93A). ALS mice were fed standard rodent diet (SD), KD, or either diets containing a metabolic therapy of the primary ingredients of the DP consisting of AAKG, gamma-aminobutyric acid, Coenzyme Q10, and medium chain triglyceride high in caprylic triglyceride. Assessment of ALS-like pathology was performed using a pre-defined criteria for neurological score, accelerated rotarod test, paw grip endurance test, and grip strength test. Blood glucose, blood beta-hydroxybutyrate, and body weight were also monitored. SD+DP-fed mice exhibited improved neurological score from age 116 to 136 days compared to control mice. KD-fed mice exhibited better motor performance on all motor function tests at 15 and 16 weeks of age compared to controls. SD+DP and KD+DP therapies significantly extended survival time of SOD1-G93A mice by 7.5% (p = 0.001) and 4.2% (p = 0.006), respectively. Sixty-three percent of mice in the KD+DP and 72.7% of the SD+DP group lived past 125 days, while only 9% of the control animals survived past that point. Targeting energy metabolism with metabolic therapy produces a therapeutic effect in ALS mice which may prolong survival and quality of life in ALS patients.

Concepts: Metabolism, Mitochondrion, Cellular respiration, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Excitotoxicity, Lou Gehrig, Glycolysis, Ketogenic diet